Department of Biology

Biology Departmental office

Location: 101 Hayes Building

Chair: Paul F. Nicoletto

Administrative Assistant: Tracy Boudreaux, Phone: (409) 880-8262

Degree Advisors:

BS Biology: Paul F. Nicoletto, Professor of Biology, Hayes 101A, pfnicoletto@my.lamar.edu, (409) 880-8256.

BS Environmental Science: James W. Armcost Jr., Associate Professor of Biology, Hayes 205-14, jarmacost@my.lamar.edu, (409) 880-1756.

MS Biology: Ana B. Christensen, Associate Professor of Biology, Hayes 205-2, christenab@my.lamar.edu, (409) 880-8260.

Biology Mission Statement:

     The Biology Department has three missions. First, the overall mission is to produce graduates with a broad-based knowledge of biology and the capacity of applying their education and critically evaluating emerging scientific knowledge. Second, the department is committed to providing research opportunities for faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students. Research and peer-reviewed publication enhance the recognition and prestige of the university and develop contacts and collaborations between Lamar University faculty and colleagues elsewhere, which ultimately benefits our graduates. Third, the Biology Department provides courses that fulfill the laboratory science requirements for many degree plans and for the core curriculum.

     The Biology Program is committed to the laboratory approach to science. Students completing the biology core will have been exposed to all major areas of biology and are allowed the freedom to concentrate on an area of special interest within the major. Sufficient hours of free electives allow a Biology Major to obtain secondary teaching certification simultaneously. Faculty offices are located in the Hayes Biology Building and in the Science Auditorium. The Dujay Bird Sanctuary in the Big Thicket, the Center for Coastal and Marine Studies at Pleasure Island near Port Arthur, and more remote field sites in the Western Texas desert and Neotropical rainforest and coral reefs of Central America provide an opportunity for field-based study.

     Areas of faculty expertise and research interests include Animal Behavior, Invertebrate Physiology, Cytogenetics, Biotechnology, Medical Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Toxicology, Marine Biology, Ecology, Limnology, Botany, Tropical Biology, Molecular Phylogenetics and Systematics, Invertebrate Zoology, Parasitology, Ichthyology, Herpetology, Ornithology, and Mammalogy.

Degrees Offered

Undergraduate

Bachelor of Science in Biology -120 hrs (minimum)

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science -120 hrs  (minimum)

Life Science (Grade 8-12) Teacher Certification -141 hrs (117 hrs BS Biology plus 24 hrs Pedagogy courses)

Pre-Professional Programs: Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physician's Assistant, Pre-Medical Technology

Minor in Biology

Graduate

 Master of Science in Biology - Thesis option (32 hrs) and Non-thesis option (38 hrs)

Bachelor of Science - Biology

     The Major in Biology supports the departmental mission in that students are exposed to current scientific concepts and principles. Moreover, students spend a significant amount of their educational time in the laboratory or field. By the actual performance of methods and techniques, they can engage in internal research projects or be competitive for external summer research internships. The biology degree offers seven concentrations in: Cell and Molecular Biology, Ecology, Aquatic Biology, Vertebrate Zoology, Invertebrate Zoology, Pre-health Professional, Pre-medical Technology, see below. After graduation, they can effectively compete for jobs or move into graduate or professional schools. As the study of life, Biology requires a thorough understanding of the underlying chemical and physical principles governing all life processes. Lamar students attracted to this field are well equipped to enter the professions of medicine, dentistry or one of the other career paths listed below in this section. Students are equally prepared for environmentally or biotechnology related careers in various governmental agencies, private companies, or academia. A career file is maintained in Room 101 of the Hayes Biology Building to acquaint students with far-ranging career possibilities. Students interested in further education leading to an advanced degree in Biology are also well prepared. Those interested in teaching in secondary education (grades 8 – 12) should consult the section below on B.S. Biology with teaching certificate.

     Recommended Minimum Program of Study – B. S. Biology: The following is a recommended program of study for completion of the B. S. Biology degree plan in the minimum semester hours with the specified option. Additional requirements may be required for specialized areas, i.e. certain minor requirements, preparation for graduate school, certifications, or licensees. Advanced courses (3000-4000 level) should only be taken after 60 credits of study toward the degree; although exceptions can be made when academically in the best interest of the student. Please see a Biology Advisor or the Department Chair for advising details.

     Certification to teach Biology can be obtained along with a BS in Biology. Consult with the Biology Department Chair for specific information. A list of Biology courses for certification is available in the departmental office.

Biology Bachelor of Science

First Year Credits Credits
Fall Semester Spring Semester
ENGL 1301, Composition I 3 ENGL 1302, Composition II 3
BIOL 1406, Gen. Biology 4 BIOL 1407, Gen. Biology II 4
HIST 1301, U.S. History I 3 HIST 1302, U.S. History II 3
MATH 2312, Pre-Calculus 3 PSYC 2317, Statistics 3
Lang/Phil/Culture 3 Social and Behavioral Science 3
Total 16 16
Second Year
Fall Semester Spring Semester
POLS 2301, American Goverment I 3 POLS 2302, American Goverment II 3
CHEM 1411, General Chemistry 4 CHEM 1412, General Chemistry II 4
PHYS 1401, College Physics 4 PHYS 1402, College Physics II 4
BIOL 2420, Microbiology or Creative Arts 4 - 3 BIOL 2420, Microbiology or Creative Arts 4 - 3
Total 14 - 15 14 - 15
Third Year
Fall Semester Spring Semester
CHEM 3411, Organic Chemistry I 4 CHEM 3412, Organic Chemistry II 4
BIOL 3470, Genetics or BIOL 3450, General Botany 4 BIOL 3470, Genetics or BIOL 3450, General Botany 4
Vertebrate Course or Invertebrate Course 4 Vertebrate Course or Invertebrate Course 4
BIOL 4470, Cell Biology or Biology Elective 12. 4 BIOL. 4404, Molecular Biology or Biology Elective 12. 4
Total 15 16
Fourth Year
Fall Semester Spring Semester
BIOL 4300, Dev. Biol. Thought or COMM 3 BIOL 4300, Dev. Biol. Thought or COMM 3
Biology Elective 4 Advanced Elective 3
 Biology Elective 3 - 4 Biology Elective 3 - 4
Biology Elective 4 Biology Elective 4
Total 14 - 15 13 - 14

 

Notes:

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology will be awarded upon the completion of the following requirements:

1. At least 120 semester hours are required for a B.S. degree in Biology.

2. The university core is 42 credit hours. Two additional credit hours are added to the university core by required Biology courses Biol 1406 and 1407.

3. Students must complete the Freshman Composition sequence (or its equivalent, ENGL1301 and 1302) requirements with no less than a "C". Students must continually be enrolled in an English Composition course until this requirement is met.

4. Students must complete 6 hours of mathematics/statistics and continually be enrolled in a Mathematics course until this requirement is met. 

5. Students must complete all departmentally required courses required in their major and minor with at least a grade of "C."

6. Students must complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or better before taking any more advanced biology course.

7. Biology Courses: Biology Core courses: BIOL 1406, 1407, 2420, 3450, 3470, one invertebrate biology course (BIOL 3460 or 4410), one vertebrate biology course (BIOL 3428, 4408, 4409, 4431, 4440, or 4445), one molecular-cellular biology course: (BIOL 4404 or BIOL 4470), and the capstone course BIOL 4344, which requires students to pass the ETS Major Field Exam in Biology.  Biology Electives: any additional 22 semester hours of BIOL at the 3000-4000 level.

8. The BS Biology degree offers seven possible concentrations. A concentration requires a minimum of 15 credits over and above courses required and claimed in the Biology core curriculum. 

9. Concentrations do not include credits from any of the following courses: BIOL1406, BIOL1407, BIOL2420, BIOL3450, BIOL3470, BIOL4344, a course used to fulfill the invertebrate, vertebrate, or Cell/Molecular core requirements, or any of the supporting courses in chemistry or physics listed on the biology degree plan.  A list of Biology concentrations is provided below.

10. It is the student’s responsibility to declare a concentration in writing to the Biology Department Administrative Assistant.

11. Students must take one 4000-level Biology course that is designated a as "Scientific Report Writing Intensive". These courses include: Experimental Design, Environmental Microbiology, Ecology, Advanced Physiology, Animal Behavior, Molecular Biology, Epidemiology.

12. Supporting Sciences: General Chemistry - eight semester hours (CHEM 1311, 1111 and 1312 and 1112); Organic Chemistry - eight semester hours CHEM 3311, 3111 and 3312, 3112); General Physics -eight semester hours (PHYS 1401 and 1402); Statistics - four semester hours (PSYC 2317, fulfills 3 credits of Mathematical Science core)

13. Free Electives: Sufficient advanced (3000-4000 level) elective credits to complete a total of 120 semester hours; typically 4 credits.

14. MATH 1314 (College Algebra Non-Calculus Track) or MATH 1414 (College Algebra  Calculus Track) and MATH 1316 (Trigonometry) may be substituted for MATH 2312 (Pre-Calculus/Elementary Functions) in the Biology BS degree plan.

B.S. Biology Concentrations

Cell and Molecular Biology: Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Biotech applications, Embryology, Environmental Microbiology, Biochemistry

Ecology: Evolutionary Ecology, Ecology, Conservation Biology, Environmental Microbiology, Tropical Biology,  Field Botany, Field Parasitology,  Animal Behavior

Aquatic Biology: Aquatic Entomology, Marine Biology, Limnology, Ichthyology, Tropical Biology, Field Parasitology, Invertebrate Zoology, Oceanography

Vertebrate Zoology: Mammalogy, Ornithology, Ichthyology, Herpetology, Vertebrate Natural History, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Desert Field Mammalogy, Embryology

Invertebrate Zoology: Invertebrate Zoology, Parasitology, Field Parasitology, Tropical Biology, Marine Invertebrate Zoology

Pre-health Professional: Advanced Physiology, Parasitology, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Embryology, Biochemistry, Environmental Toxicology

Pre-medical Technology: Advanced Physiology, Parasitology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

Note: Tropical biology can count for a maximum of 4 credits towards a concentration.

Biology Bachelor of Science - Concentration in Medical Technology

The medical technologist performs the laboratory tests required by physicians in order to properly diagnose and treat patients. Most technologists find employment in hospitals, clinics or blood banks. In addition, manufacturing and sales of  medical products are providing new career opportunities for medical technologists. A long-term shortage of clinical laboratory scientists has placed a premium on certified medical technologists nationwide, and employment opportunities in the field are expected to remain very good in the future.

Students completing the pre-medical technology emphasis will receive a Bachelor of Science in Biology that emphasizes the course work needed to compete for acceptance into hospital programs in the clinical laboratory sciences. Most hospital programs last for one or occasionally two years. During this time, students receive laboratory training in practical aspects of the clinical laboratory sciences. In addition, a certification exam must be passed to be employed as a clinical laboratory scientist in most states.

Students pursuing a concentration in Medical Technology should take the course recommended for that concentration (see the Concentration list above), as well as additional courses decided upon in consultation with the program director.  Entry into hospital programs is competitive, and completion of these courses will best-prepare students for acceptance into hospital programs.  A list of hospital programs for the state of Texas is provided below.

Students interested in these programs should contact Dr. Randall Terry for detailed advising (Hayes 205-8, rgterry@my.lamar.edu, (409) 880-7975).

 

Directors of Hospital Training Programs in Clinical Laboratory Science in Southeast Texas

Program Director Address Contact
Methodist Hospital

Tatia Feltman, M.Ed.,MT(ASCP)SM

See Contact tfeltman@tmhs.org; (713) 790-2599
University of Texas Medical Branch Vicki Freeman, Ph.D. 301 University Boulevard Galveston, TX 77555-1028 vfreeman@utmb.edu; (409) 772-3055
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Brandy Greenhill, DrPH, MS, MLS(ASCP) 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Box 002 Houston, TX 77030 bgreenhill@mdanderson.org; (713) 563-3091
A complete list of programs providing training in the clinical laboratory sciences can be found at http://www.naacls.org/search/programs.asp.

Bachelor of Science – Environmental Science

     The Major in Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary program concerned with protecting, monitoring, managing, and improving the environment. The degree program combines study in biology, chemistry, geology, engineering and political science in preparing the student for a career with regulatory agencies, industry, consulting firms, or academia. This degree program combines fundamental training in the basic sciences with broad training across several of the traditional disciplines to prepare students for employment or graduate study. An internship is required to integrate academic preparation with actual work experience. Students interested in these programs should contact Dr. James W. Armcost Jr., Hayes 205-14, jarmacost@my.lamar.edu, (409) 880-1756.

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science will be awarded upon completion of the following requirements:

1. General Requirements: See University Core Curriculum

2. Biology: BIOL 1406, 1407, 2420, 4302, 4430, 4435, 4460

3. Chemistry: CHEM 1311, 1111, 1312, 1112, 3311, 3111, 3401, 4481

4. Science and Mathematics: PHYS 1401, 1402; COSC 1371; PSYC 2317; MATH 2312; GEOL 1403, 3390, 4370, 4301; CVEN 3310; 4 hours approved electives

5. BULW 3330

6. Participate in internship BIOL 4300-01

Recommended Program of Study B. S. Environmental Science

     The following is a recommended program of study for completion of the B. S. Environmental Science degree plan in the minimum semester hours with the specified option. Additional course work may be required for specialized areas, i.e. certain minor requirements, preparation for graduate school, certifications, or licensees. Advanced courses (3000-4000 level) should only be taken after 60 credits of study toward the degree; although exceptions can be made when in the best interest of the student. Please see Dr. Armacost, the Program Advisor, for advising details.

First Year Credits Credits
Fall Semester Spring Semester
ENGL 1301, Composition I 3 ENGL 1302, Composition II
BIOL 1406, General Biology I 4 BIOL 1407, General Biology II 4
CHEM 1311, 1111, General Chemistry I 4 CHEM 1312, 1112, General Chemistry II 4
Lang/Phil/Culture 3 Social and Behavioral Science 3
Total 14 14
Second Year
Fall Semester Spring Semester
Hist 1301, US History I 3 Hist 1302, US History II 3
MATH 2312, Pre-Calculus 3 PSYC 2317, Statistics 3
BIOL 2420, Microbiology 4 GEOL 1403, Physical Geology 4
CHEM 3401, Quantitative Analysis 4 CHEM 3311, 311, Organic Chemistry 4
COMM 3
Total 14 17
Third Year
Fall Semester Spring Semester
Creative Arts 3 COSC1371, Microcomputers 3
POLS 2301, American Government I 3 POLS 2302, American Government II 3
CHEM 4481, Environmental Analysis 4 BIOL 4435, Toxicology 4
GEOL 4370, Meteorology 3 Geol 3390, Environmental Geology 3
CVEN 3310, Water Chem. for Enviorn. Eng. 3 GEOL 4301, Princioles of GIS or Hydrogeology 3
Total 16 16
Fourth Year
Fall Semester Spring Semester
Approved Free Elective or BIOL 4300, Internship 3 - 4 Approved Free Elective or BIOL 4300, Internship 3 - 4
BIOL 4460, Ecology 4 BIOL 4430, Limnology 4
BIOL 4302, Conservation Biology 3 BULW 3330, Environmental Law 3
PHYS 1401, College Physics I 4 PHYS 1402, College Physics II 4
Total 14 - 15 14 - 15

Notes:

 1. 120 semester hours are required for a B.S. degree in Environmental Science.

2. The university core is 42 credit hours. Hours above the minimum of 3 are added to required Environmental Science courses.

3. Students must complete the Freshman Composition sequence (or its equivalent, ENGL1301 and 1302) requirements with no less than a "C". Students must continually be enrolled in an English Composition course until this requirement is met.

4. Students must complete 6 hours of mathematics/statistics and continually be enrolled in a Mathematics course until this requirement is met. 

5. Students must complete all courses required in their major and minor with at least a grade of "C."

6. Students must complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or better before taking any more advanced biology course.

7. The four credits of free electives must be at the 3000 to 4000 level and approved by Environmental Science advisor.

8.  MATH 2312, Pre-calculus is a required course for the Environmental Science degree.  If a student that is University core complete enters the Environmental Science program that student must complete MATH 2312, Pre-calculus before taking any course required by the degree.

Biology Minor

     Students must take courses to total 18 hours with at least three classes at the 3000-4000 level. All students must successfully complete both BIOL 1406 and BIOL 1407 before enrolling in advanced courses. Some advanced courses have additional prerequisite courses. To qualify for the minor, a grade of no less than "C" must be obtained in each course applied to the minor.

Pre-Professional Programs*

     A Bachelor of Science in Biology is an excellent way to prepare for medically oriented professional schools. Freshman and transfer students declaring themselves as Pre-Medicine, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Optometry, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, or Pre-Pharmacy status should consult the College of Arts and Sciences section of this catalog for information on the Pre-Professional Program. Students in the pre-professional program will receive initial advising through the Pre-Professional Office. In their sophomore year those pursuing a BS Biology degree will be assigned to a Biology Faculty member on the Pre-Professional Committee. Students are encouraged to contact the Pre-professional Advisor, Ms. Lara Jagneaux (Parker 106, llbrisco@lamar.edu, (409) 880-8534) for information and assistance.

*Note that a Pre-professional program cannot be declared as a degree major.

 

Graduate Program

     The Department of Biology offers a program of study leading to the Master of Science in Biology degree with either a thesis or non-thesis option. It is designed to enhance the professional competence of graduates in biology or closely related disciplines who are interested in pursuing academic careers, employment in private industry or governmental agencies in biologically oriented fields, entrance to professional schools, or who are presently engaged in or planning to enter secondary school teaching. Students interested in these programs should contact  Ana B. Christensen for detailed advising (Hayes 205-02, christenab@my.lamar.edu, (409) 880-8260).

Applicants must:

1. Have a BS or BA degree in biology from an accredited institution or complete a minimum of 24 semester hours in the biological sciences including eight hours of general biology (BIOL 1406 & 1407 or the equivalent) and a course in genetics. Excluded from the 24 hours is Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 2401 & 2402).

2. Completed a minimum of one semester of Organic Chemistry and one semester of statistics.

3. Remove any deficiencies as provided in the section on admission.

4. Meet the admission standards of the College of Graduate Studies.

5. The minimum verbal GRE score for non-thesis is 146 and the minimum quantitative score 145. The minimum verbal GRE score thesis is 148 and the minimum quantitative score 147.

6. The minimum GPA for non-thesis 2.8 and for thesis is 3.0 on a 4 point scale.

7. All students with degrees from a country other than the U.S.A. must have their transcripts evaluated, at their own expense by a company approved by the Biology Department or University (http://www.lamar.edu/_files/documents/admissions/foreign-transcript-evaluation-2012.pdf).

8. All students entering the graduate program in biology must have a member of the Biology Graduate Faculty willing to serve as supervisor of the student's graduate studies. Applicants should explore the interests and research background of members of the Biology faculty, including directly contacting faculty with common interests. Applicants should include with their application materials a letter of intent addressed to the Biology faculty that explains the following: a) their career goal(s) giving reasons for pursuing an MS degree in Biology; b) their areas of interest in biology; and c) preferences to be supervised by specific faculty members. The latter is especially important if pursuing the thesis option.

Degree Requirements

The candidate for the M.S. in Biology must meet all the College of Graduate Studies general requirements as listed in this catalog. For their professional development, students must enroll in BIOL 5110 Graduate Seminar. They must take the course two times; any subsequent enrollments will not count toward the degree.

Thesis option

This option is strongly recommended for those who plan to continue graduate work beyond the Master's level or to be employed in a research position by private industry or governmental agency. Students are expected to:

1. Take Graduate Seminar (BIOL 5110) at least two times. Any subsequent enrollments will not count toward the degree.

2. Choose a supervising professor as an advisor with expertise in the discipline in which the student intends to work. With the help of the supervising professor choose at least two other graduate faculty to serve on a graduate committee. These faulty should be chosen on the basis of their professional expertise in biology and the specific contributions that can be made to the student's intended research project.

3. Determine the student's program of study with the aid of the supervising professor and graduate committee. Student must complete a minimum of 32 hours of graduate credit. All course work will be in Biology. Exceptions must be approved by the major advisor and Department Chair. A maximum of six hours of Thesis (BIOL 5390-5391) can be used toward the degree.

4. Submit the G2 form to the biology department by the end of the first year of graduate work.

5. Perform a comprehensive literature review on the thesis topic and submit a written proposal for the thesis to the graduate committee.

6. Perform an oral presentation of the proposal and answer questions by the graduate faculty of the Biology Department. In addition, pass an oral examination before the student's graduate committee on the experimental design of the proposed thesis.

7. File for candidacy after 18 hours and before beginning the final 9 hours by submitting the G3 form to the Graduate College.

8. Perform the proposed research.

9. Be registered for thesis (5391) at the time of graduation.

10. Present and defend the graduate thesis before the graduate faculty.

11. Follow the guidelines prepared by the Graduate College on the format of the written thesis and the time line for submitting the thesis.

Non-Thesis option

This option is intended for those not seeking a higher degree in Biology. Students are expected to:

1. Take Graduate Seminar (BIOL 5110) at least two times. Any subsequent enrollments will not count toward the degree.

2. Choose a major advisor and graduate committee of at least two other graduate faculty during the first year of the program. The student must take at least one class from each of the committee members.

3. Determine a program of study with the aid of the advisor and graduate committee. Student must complete a minimum of 38 hours of graduate credit. All course work will be in Biology. Exceptions must be approved by the major advisor and Department Chair.

4. Submit the G2 form to the Biology Department.

5. File for candidacy after 18 hours and before beginning the final 9 hours by submitting the G3 form.

6. Pass an exit exam covering the course work taken during the program. The Biology non-thesis comprehensive examination will be made by the three members of the student's graduate committee and may encompass any and all topics in biology. A minimum score of 70% must be obtained on each of the three subsections of the final exam. The comprehensive examination will be essay, closed book, and on the premises. Students will not be given any prior knowledge of the specific questions. Two questions will be submitted by each of the three committee members. One hour will be given for each question. Three questions will be given before 12:00 pm and three after 1:00 pm on the day of the comprehensive examination.

7. The exit exam may be repeated once if failure occurs. Students will only retake the sections of the exam on which that they did not obtain a 70%. Different questions will be asked in those same sections for the second exam. Failure to pass all sections of the comprehensive examination in two attempts will result in a student's being permanently suspended from the degree program.

8. The Biology non-thesis written comprehensive examination will be administered in accordance with the following schedule:

Fall Term: Beginning the last Thursday in October and ending on the first Thursday of November, exclusive of the weekend.

Spring Term: Beginning the last Thursday in March and ending on the first Thursday of April, exclusive of the weekend.

Summer: The Monday prior to the last Monday of the first summer term, exclusive of the weekend.